A Court of Thorns and Roses

The cover of the first novel in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas. Photo courtesy of Bloomsbury Publishing

Rating: 8/10

The first book in the ‘A Court of Thorns and Roses’ Series, ‘A Court of Thorns and Roses,’ harkens back to childhood nostalgia from the start with the book at different points feeling reminiscent of the Hunger Games, Beauty and the Beast, or the Greek myth of Persephone and Hades. It is a tempting young adult fiction or adult fiction tale delving into a fantasy realm and with elements of action and romance. As the love story unfolds you’re led to fall in love with the ‘Beast’ which is Tamlin and to hate ‘Hades’ which is Rhysand. The melding of these stories into a twisting tale can only have been done purposefully because the similarity to the fairytales or myths is beyond reproach. Both of these fairytales are enemies to lovers and ‘A Court of Thorns and Roses’ proves to be no different.

The two romances begin in nearly identical form to the romance of Beauty and the Beast and that of Persephone being trapped by Hades to live in the Underworld. In both the protagonist is essentially kidnapped and so I beg the argument, are Tamlin and Rhysand really so different or is it just that they caused undue trauma to Feyrah at different instances and dealt with their trauma differently? Tamlin isn’t as bad as the beast in Beauty and the Beast because it is true that Feyrah killed a high fae disguised as a wolf in the woods while Belle committed no crime and Tamlin doesn’t hold her prisoner in his castle but essentially traps her by eliminating all other options. The scene where he comes back from killing a monster and Feyrah binds Tamlin’s wounds is so similar to Beauty and the Beast as to almost be an identical replication with the curse bringing the story full circle. Being unable to tell her what’s really happening, being disguised as a monster so that she has to look beyond his looks, the plot is a copycat of the fairytale. The romance that is built between Feyrah and Tamlin feels too brief and he eventually sends her away for her own protection and just before the curse would end, very similar to Beauty and the Beast once more. Despite the romance that only lasts a couple of chapters I still fell so in love with Tamlin that I found myself crying during their struggle under the mountain.

And when Rhysand comes to heal Feyrah under the mountain he offers her a deal just like the one Hades offers Persephone after she eats the pomegranate seeds from the Garden of Elysium and is forced to live half of her life in the Underworld. In very similar fashion, Rhysand demands that Feyrah spend two weeks of every month of the rest of her life living with him in the Night Court. She negotiates a week a month for the rest of her life and goes on to defeat Amarantha, undoing the curse upon the Spring Court and with the death of Amarantha, the entire realm. In the process, she dies and is brought back by the seven high lords as an immortal making this deal as eternal as that of the Greek gods. The fact that she’s to spend ¾ of her life in Spring and ¼ in the ‘Court of Nightmares’ only fuels this symmetricity.

While the romances in this first novel are spun from fairytales that are giant banners of red, Feyrah’s strength remains a central pillar of the novel with her performing feats of awesomeness as a powerless mortal that amaze even the magical fae and drive Amarantha to fury. In the novel, Feyrah is a #strong-female-protagonist and as such, she traps dangerous creatures, grows empathy for the fae, defeats monsters of unimaginable ferocity even when she is completely without weapons. She outwits and outmaneuvers the fae who have grown so entwined and attached to their powers that they are unaware of how it is to struggle for survival without them.

The first novel is followed by three more: ‘A Court of Mist and Fury,’‘A Court of Wings and Ruin, and lastly, ‘A Court of Frost and Starlight,’ with the fifth and final novel ‘A Court of Silver Flames,’ coming out in January of 2021.

Links for purchase:

A Court of Thorns and Roses

A Court of Mist and Fury

A Court of Wings and Ruin

A Court of Frost and Starlight

A Court of Silver Flames

#youngadultfiction #adultfiction #fantasy #romance #action #enemiestolovers #strongfemaleprotagonist

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Living the life of a student adventurer based in the Pacific Northwest and writing my way through it. Your resource for lifestyle and travel!

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